The quest for regional education hub status : challenges, possibilities and search for new governance in Hong Kong

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The growing global interdependence has been recognized within higher education circles for decades, usually seen as “international education” and having its primary manifestation in student and faculty exchanges between countries. Over the last decade, especially after reaching the GATS agreement, higher education has been refined in part as a tradable commodity, and the amount of “globalized education” taking place is on the increase. With the strong intention of enhancing the global competitiveness of their higher education systems, governments across different parts of the world, especially in Asia, have engaged in the quest for different forms of hub status such as education hub, student hub, talent hub, and knowledge/information hub. Transnational higher education has become increasingly popular in Asian societies. Some Asian governments have invited foreign universities to set up their campuses to provide transnational education programs, while others have engaged in the quest for regional education hub status. The quest to become a regional hub of education inevitably leads to a new terrain of governance, complex and sometimes convoluted, which involves problems of coordination (and accountability and transparency), especially when dealing with multinational businesses, but which can bring to the state benefits in terms of flexibilities and forms of flexibilization and substitution which are not normally possible in administrative systems. This chapter sets out against this wider policy context to critically examine how Hong Kong stands in the journey toward making the city-state a regional education hub (When referring to “education hub” here, we adopt the definition by Knight that “an education hub is a planned effort to build a critical mass of local and international actors strategically engaged in crossborder education, training, knowledge production and innovation initiatives” (Knight, J Stud Int Educ 15(3):221–240, 2011, p. 277)), with particular reference to examining the major challenges and possibilities, as well as the implications, for university governance with the rise of transnational education programs and proliferation of providers in education.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationInternationalization of higher education : the case of Hong Kong
PublisherSpringer Nature
Number of pages20
ISBN (Print)9789812876669
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2016

Publication series

NameEducation in the Asia-Pacific region : issues, concerns and prospects
ISSN (Print)1573-5397
ISSN (Electronic)2214-9791

Bibliographical note

This chapter is a revised and updated version of the author’s previous publication in 2012. Thanks go to the Research Grant Council of the HKSAR Government in support of the project “A Comparative Study of Transnational Higher Education Policy and Governance in Hong Kong, Shenzhen China, and Singapore” (HKIEd7005-PPR-6).


  • Education hub
  • Governed market Varieties of regulatory regime
  • Market-accelerationist state
  • Market-facilitating state
  • New university governance
  • Transnational higher education


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